Author Anthony Browne hails ‘best job in the world' after being made a CBE

The children's author and illustrator received the honour from the Princess Royal during a Windsor Castle investiture ceremony.

Acclaimed children’s author and illustrator Anthony Browne said he has the “best job in the world” as he was made a CBE for an award-winning career spanning more than 40 years.

The former children’s laureate, who has captured the imagination of young readers with his classic tales, received the honour from the Princess Royal during a Windsor Castle investiture ceremony.

Browne is famed for a string of popular books such as his beautifully illustrated work Gorilla, about a girl’s toy gorilla which turns into a real animal that takes her to the zoo, and a series featuring the character Willy.

Investitures at Windsor Castle
Anthony Browne is made a CBE by the Princess Royal (Jonathan Brady/PA)

After the ceremony, the writer and illustrator said: “As I said to Princess Anne, this is the best job in the world for me.

“I’m being paid to do what I’ve loved doing since I was six years old – making up stories and drawing pictures.”

Browne was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 2000, an international prize given to an illustrator for their body of work, and he served for two years as the children’s laureate from 2009.

He said about his chat with Anne: “She pointed out that I illustrate and write and she wondered which comes first. My very first book was a series of pictures which I turned into a story but mostly they come together, it’s like making a film I suppose, it’s images, it’s words and gradually they develop and work together.”

The author once filmed a children’s programme while sitting in a cage with gorillas and carried on the show despite being badly bitten.

Waterstones Children�s Laureate 20th anniversary
Browne has previously been the children’s laureate (Ian West/PA)

“I love gorillas but I’m never going to the zoo with one,“ he said laughing.

Browne added: “Stupidly I was frightened of the gorilla but also embarrassed about telling the television company ‘you’ve got to get me out of here and get me to hospital’. I was kneeling down and they couldn’t see the bottom half of my jeans was turning black with blood.

“Looking back at it, it was (a) a ridiculous thing to do and (b) terrifying. Being in the cage was a bit like being with people who you didn’t know what they were going to do next – anything could have happened.”

Anne also presented an MBE to award-winning singer Lurine Cato who was honoured for her services to charity and music.

Investitures at Windsor Castle
Lurine Cato receives her MBE from the Princess Royal (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Cato, who was named the best gospel act at the 2013 Mobo Awards, was recognised for a career that saw her lead the B Positive Choir to the finals of Britain’s Got Talent in 2018.

She said: “You don’t realise how much you’ve done until people outside of your bubble recognise it, and it was overwhelming to receive the email.

“It just made me think I’ve just to keep on going and this award opens more doors to help more people.”

Charity founder Kelda Wood was also awarded an MBE for setting up the organisation Climbing Out, which boosts the confidence and motivation of those who have undergone a life-changing injury, illness or trauma.

Ms Wood, who suffered an irreparable leg injury that had a huge impact on her life, also rowed solo across the Atlantic, covering 3,500 nautical miles in 76 days and raising more than £50,000 for her organisation.

She said: “The charity is doing some incredible work and it is all about helping people who’ve been through trauma. But in getting recognised it helps raise awareness about what we’ve been doing.”

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access